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  • There are so many books! Where do I start??
    Start with “Mindfulness, Awareness and Control”. This is the basis for everything that I do in the music profession – keeping my mind, body, heart and voice (including technique) in balance. This book is “preparing for the end in mind”. Look – at some point, you’re going to be a KILLER bass player with KILLER technique. Even then, you’re going to need to remember to drop your shoulders and keep your mind quiet after that tough Heldenleben lick or Giant Steps solo. So why not start now? Remember that it’s not all about technique.
  • How long does each workout take?
    It’s designed to take ABOUT an hour, but in reality, it’s different for every person. It depends on your familiarity with each exercise. Once you know each exercise well enough to play it at your own tempo without stopping, then you’ll learn how much time it takes you to complete the whole book cover-to-cover.
  • I’ve learned the exercises in the book! What now?
    Great! Now just keep playing the book about three times per week, and let the workout develop techniques that work for you. Repetition is the heart of learning. I (and every working artist I know) has a routine that has gotten them through their whole career. Even when you’ve evaluated your own technical or musical goals, and start learning a new routine that gets you where you want to go, keep playing the workouts that are familiar.
  • Why do you keep saying “Center” in each exercise?
    Everything in bass technique is about staying balanced. Heck, everything in LIFE is about maintaining balance between heart, mind, body and voice. Bass players are athletes – they use their body to achieve a musical end. If, at any time, your body becomes tense, crooked or off-balance, you won’t perform at your best. And nothing throws off your body more than playing the bass – this huge, unwieldy piece of furniture. Practicing your Centering throughout your daily practice instills an automatic recognition and response to any unwanted tension that WILL plague you throughout your musical journey.
  • Do I really need to say my affirmations before EVERY workout?
    Yes. Everything you DO starts with Gratitude. You didn’t get here alone. It’s the granddaddy of all virtues. Get used to it.
  • I don’t have time for Silence – it’s a waste of time. Can I skip it?
    Nope. I probably should have called this exercise “Listening”, but I was feeling slightly ironic when I titled it, and, well, there it is. It’s not simply DOING NOTHING for 2 minutes – it’s ACTIVELY directing your brain to three facts of life that are not in your control – your breathing, your emotions, and the sounds in your vicinity. These are the elements that exist during every moment of your life, and if you’re not familiar with how they influence your psychology and physiology, and how to manage them, then you’re at a severe disadvantage in a critical performance. So, don’t ignore it - it’s the best investment in 4 minutes a day you could possibly make.
  • Are these books for Beginners, Intermediate or Advanced?
    Yes. While a few of the exercises are designed for more advanced players, almost all of them can be started by young bassists, with guidance by an experienced teacher who can adapt the exercise for their ability. Each exercise is designed to be adaptable for every player at every level of development. If you can’t play an entire exercise, simply playing the first and last measure is sometimes beneficial. The important element of the exercises is the WHY. If you understand the WHY, then you can get some small benefit each day.
  • Why did you make these books?
    Two reasons: First, as a university teacher, I had a hodgepodge collection of exercises I’d give to my students. The students had the packet, but they didn’t know how to structure it in their own playing for maximum benefit. And since each student is different, they all had different needs. I wanted a way to structure their technical needs AND make their time management efficient.(commuting was a HUGE time sink for most students in Houston) The Second reason was a massive epiphany. One day, I spent the morning at a middle school working with beginning bassists, teaching them glowing tones. I taught the rest of the day at the university, and that evening, I had a coaching session with a professional who was auditioning for a major orchestra. We had a major breakthrough that night while discussing the SAME GLOWING TONE exercises the beginners had worked on that morning. I realized that the scope of these exercises went beyond the label of “beginning, intermediate, advanced”, to the level of “musician”. When I started seeing the exercises and routines in that light, everything fell into place.
  • What if I can’t do an exercise?
    No worries. If you can’t play the notes, then play them slowly pizzicato until they become familiar. Then, if needed, add the bow. Then give the exercise some attention about five minutes per day for a few days in a row, and allow the exercise to grow into your body and fingers. Some of us are used to practicing for hours at a time, and sinking your attention to a single passage for extended times. You can’t force a “flow state”. If it happens, then go with it. Otherwise, if you have a lot going on, then five minutes per day is enough to let an exercise grow into your technique.

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